74 - Al Muddaththir (The cloaked one)

7 Tafsir(s) related to verse 74.1


O you enveloped in your mantle, the Prophet (s) (al-muddaththir is actually al-mutadaththir, but the tā’ has been assimilated with the dāl) that is to say, the one who is enwrapped in his clothes when the Revelation [Gabriel] comes down on him,


O you enveloped in your mantle,! arise and warn,He said:‘O you who are seeking succour from your own self in order to relieve your breast and heart. Arise through Us and shed from yourself all other than Us. Warn Our servants, for surely We have prepared you for the most honoured of positions (ashraf al-mawāqif) and the greatest of stations (aʿẓam al-maqāmāt).’

Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi

(O thou enveloped in thy cloak…) [74:1-4]. Abu Ishaq Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Muqri’ informed us> ‘Abd al-Malik ibn al-Walid> his father> al-Awza‘i> Yahya ibn Abi Kathir> Abu Salamah> Jabir who related that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to them: “I stayed in Hira’ for a month and when my stay came to an end, I came down. As I was in the middle of the valley, I was called. I looked in front and behind me, to my right and to my left, but could not see anyone. I was called once again. I raised my head, and I saw on a throne in midair [i.e. Gabriel peace be upon him]. I said: ‘Wrap me up, wrap me up!’ And they threw water over me. Allah, glorified and majestic is He, then revealed (O thou enveloped in thy cloak, Arise and warn! Thy Lord magnify, Thy raiment purify)”. Narrated by Muslim> Zuhayr ibn Harb> al-Walid ibn Muslim> al-Awza‘i.

Ibn Al Kathir

The First Ayat to be revealed after `Read!

It has been confirmed in the Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim on the authority of Abu Salamah that Jabir bin `Abdullah informed him that he heard the Messenger of Allah speaking about the time period (of the pause in) revelation. The Prophet said,

«فَبَيْنَا أَنَا أَمْشِي إِذْ سَمِعْتُ صَوْتًا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَرَفَعْتُ بَصَرِي قِبَلَ السَّمَاءِ، فَإِذَا الْمَلَكُ الَّذِي جَاءَنِي بِحِرَاءَ، قَاعِدٌ عَلَى كُرْسِيَ بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ، فَجُئِثْتُ مِنْهُ حَتْى هَوَيْتُ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ، فَجِئْتُ إِلَى أَهْلِي فَقُلْتُ: زَمِّلُونِي زَمِّلُونِي فَزَمَّلُونِي. فَأَنْزَلَ (اللهُ تَعَالى):

يأَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ - قُمْ فَأَنذِرْ


ثُمَّ حَمِيَ الْوَحْيُ وَتَتَابَع»

(While I was walking I heard a voice from the sky. So I lifted my gaze towards the sky and saw the same angel who had come to me at the cave of Hira'. He was sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. So I fled from him (in fear) until I fell down to the ground. Then, I went to my family and I said, `Wrap me up, wrap me up. So, they wrapped me up! So Allah revealed, (O you wrapped up! Arise and warn!) until (And keep away) Here, Abu Salamah added, `Ar-Rujz means idols.' (After this, the revelation started coming strongly and frequently in succession.) This is the wording of Al-Bukhari. The way this Hadith is narrated necessitates that revelation had descended before this. This is due to the Prophet's statement,

«فَإِذَا الْمَلَكُ الَّذِي جَاءَنِي بِحِرَاء»

(The same angel who had come to me at the cave of Hira'.)'' That angel was Jibril, who had came to him with Allah's statement,

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِى خَلَقَ - خَلَقَ الإِنسَـنَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ - اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الاٌّكْرَمُ - الَّذِى عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ - عَلَّمَ الإِنسَـنَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ

(Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created. He has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.) (96:1-5) After this first occurrence (in the cave) there was a period of time that passed, then the angel descended again. Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Salamah bin `Abdur-Rahman that Jabir bin `Abdullah informed him that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying,

«ثُمَّ فَتَرَ الْوَحْيُ عَنِّي فَتْرَةً، فَبَيْنَا أَنَا أَمْشِي سَمِعْتُ صَوْتًا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ، فَرَفَعْتُ بَصَرِي قِبَلَ السَّمَاءِ، فَإِذَا الْمَلَكُ الَّذِي جَاءَنِي، قَاعِدٌ عَلى كُرْسِيَ بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ، فَجُئِثْتُ مِنْهُ فَرَقًا حَتْى هَوَيْتُ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ، فَجِئْتُ أَهْلِي فَقُلْتُ لَهُمْ: زَمِّلُونِي زَمِّلُونِي فَزَمَّلُونِي، فَأَنْزَلَ اللهُ تَعَالى:

يأَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ - قُمْ فَأَنذِرْ - وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ - وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ - وَالرُّجْزَ فَاهْجُرْ

ثُمَّ حَمِيَ الْوَحْيُ وَتَتَابَع»

(Then the revelation ceased coming to me for a period of time.Then, while I was walking, I heard a voice from the sky. So I lifted my gaze towards the sky to see the same angel who had come to me, sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. So I fled from him a short distance before I fell down to the ground. Then I came to my family and said to them, `Wrap me up, wrap me up! So, they wrapped me up! Then Allah revealed, (O you wrapped up! Arise and warn! And magnify your Lord. And purify your garments. And keep away from Ar-Rujz!)( After this, the revelation started coming strongly and frequently in succession.) They both (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) recorded this Hadith by way of Az-Zuhri. At-Tabarani recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "Verily, Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah prepared some food for the Quraysh. So when they had eaten from it he said, `What do you have to say about this man' Some of them said, `He is a magician.' Others said, `He is not a magician.' Then some of them said, `He is a soothsayer.' But others said, `He is not a soothsayer.' Some of them said, `He is a poet.' But others said, `He is not a poet.' Some of them said, `This is magic from that of old.' Thus, they eventually all agreed that it was magic from ancient times. Then, when this news reached the Prophet, he became grieved, covered his head and wrapped himself up. This is when Allah revealed,

يأَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ - قُمْ فَأَنذِرْ - وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ - وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ - وَالرُّجْزَ فَاهْجُرْ - وَلاَ تَمْنُن تَسْتَكْثِرُ - وَلِرَبِّكَ فَاصْبِرْ

(O you enveloped in garments! Arise and warn! And magnify your Lord (Allah)! And purify your garments! And keep away from Ar-Rujz (the idols)! And give not a thing in order to have more (or consider not your deeds of obedience to Allah as a favour to Him). And be patient for the sake of your Lord (i.e., perform your duty to Allah)!) Concerning Allah's statement,

قُمْ فَأَنذِرْ

(Arise and warn!) means, prepare to go forth with zeal and warn the people. With this the Prophet attained messengership just as he attained prophethood with the first revelation.

وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ

(And magnify your Lord!) to declare the greatness of Him. Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas;

وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ

(And purify your garments!) "This means, do not let your garments that you wear be from earnings that are unlawful.'' It has also been said, "Do not wear your clothes in disobedience.'' Muhammad bin Sirin said,

وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ

(And purify your garments!) "This means clean them with water.'' Ibn Zayd said, "The idolators would not clean themselves, so Allah commanded him to clean himself and his garments.'' This view was preferred by Ibn Jarir. Sa`id bin Jubayr said,

وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ

(And purify your garments!) "This means purify your heart and your intentions.'' Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi and Al-Hasan Al-Basri both said, "And beautify your character.'' Concerning Allah's statement,

وَالرُّجْزَ فَاهْجُرْ

(And keep away from Ar-Rujz!) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas, "Ar-Rujz are idols, so keep away from them.'' Similar to this was said by Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Qatadah, Az-Zuhri and Ibn Zayd, "Verily, it is the idols.'' This is like Allah's statement,

يأَيُّهَا النَّبِىِّ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُطِعِ الْكَـفِرِينَ وَالْمُنَـفِقِينَ

(O Prophet! have Taqwa of Allah, and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites.) (33:1) and Allah's statement,

وَقَالَ مُوسَى لاًّخِيهِ هَـرُونَ اخْلُفْنِى فِى قَوْمِى وَأَصْلِحْ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

(And Musa said to his brother Harun: "Replace me among my people, act well and follow not way of the corrupters.'') (7:142) Then Allah says,

وَلاَ تَمْنُن تَسْتَكْثِرُ

(And give not a thing in order to have more.) Ibn `Abbas said, "Do not give any gift seeking to get (back in return) more than it.'' Khusayf reported from Mujahid;

وَلاَ تَمْنُن تَسْتَكْثِرُ

(And give not a thing (Tamnun) in order to have more.) "Do not slacken in seeking more good. Tamnun in the language of the Arabs means to become weak.'' Concerning Allah's statement,

وَلِرَبِّكَ فَاصْبِرْ

(And be patient for the sake of your Lord!) meaning, make your patience with their harms be for the Face of your Lord, the Mighty and Majestic. This was stated by Mujahid. Ibrahim An-Nakha`i said, "Be patient in your giving for the sake of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic.''

Reminding of the Day of Judgement

Concerning Allah's statement,

فَإِذَا نُقِرَ فِى النَّاقُورِ - فَذَلِكَ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَوْمٌ عَسِيرٌ - عَلَى الْكَـفِرِينَ غَيْرُ يَسِيرٍ

(Then, when the Naqur is sounded. Truly, that Day will be a Hard Day -- far from easy for the disbelievers) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Zayd bin Aslam, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd, all said,


(Naqur) "It is the Trumpet.'' Mujahid said, "It is in the shape of a horn.'' Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Abu Sa`id Al-Ashaj told them that Asbat bin Muhammad related to them from Mutarrif, from `Atiyah Al-`Awfi, from Ibn `Abbas,

فَإِذَا نُقِرَ فِى النَّاقُورِ

(Then, when the Trumpet is sounded.) The Messenger of Allah said,

«كَيْفَ أَنْعَمُ وَصَاحِبُ الْقَرْنِ قَدِ الْتَقَمَ الْقَرْنَ وَحَنَى جَبْهَتَهُ يَنْتَظِرُ مَتَى يُؤْمَرُ فَيَنْفُخُ؟»

(How can I be comfortable when the one with the horn has placed it in his mouth, leaned his forehead forward, and is waiting to be commanded so that he can blow) The Companions of the Messenger of Allah said, "What do you command us, O Messenger of Allah'' He replied,

«قُولُوا: حَسْبُنَا اللهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ، عَلَى اللهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا»

(Say: "Allah is sufficient for us, and what an excellent Trustee He is. We put our trust in Allah.'') It has been recorded like this by Imam Ahmad on the authority of Asbat. Concerning Allah's statement,

فَذَلِكَ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَوْمٌ عَسِيرٌ

(Truly, that Day will be a Hard Day.) meaning, severe.

عَلَى الْكَـفِرِينَ غَيْرُ يَسِيرٍ

(Far from easy for the disbelievers.) meaning, it will not be easy for them. This is as Allah says,

يَقُولُ الْكَـفِرُونَ هَـذَا يَوْمٌ عَسِرٌ

(The disbelievers will say: "This a Hard Day.'') (54:8) We have reported from Zurarah bin Awfa, the judge of Al-Basrah, that he lead the people in the morning prayer and he recited this Surah. Then, when he reached Allah's statement,

فَإِذَا نُقِرَ فِى النَّاقُورِ - فَذَلِكَ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَوْمٌ عَسِيرٌ - عَلَى الْكَـفِرِينَ غَيْرُ يَسِيرٍ

(Then, when the Naqur is sounded. Truly, that Day will be a Hard Day -- far from easy for the disbelievers.) he made a moaning sound and then he fell down dead. May Allah have mercy on him.

ذَرْنِى وَمَنْ خَلَقْتُ وَحِيداً - وَجَعَلْتُ لَهُ مَالاً مَّمْدُوداً - وَبَنِينَ شُهُوداً - وَمَهَّدتُّ لَهُ تَمْهِيداً - ثُمَّ يَطْمَعُ أَنْ أَزِيدَ - كَلاَّ إِنَّهُ كان لاٌّيَـتِنَا عَنِيداً - سَأُرْهِقُهُ صَعُوداً - إِنَّهُ فَكَّرَ وَقَدَّرَ - فَقُتِلَ كَيْفَ قَدَّرَ - ثُمَّ قُتِلَ كَيْفَ قَدَّرَ - ثُمَّ نَظَرَ - ثُمَّ عَبَسَ وَبَسَرَ - ثُمَّ أَدْبَرَ وَاسْتَكْبَرَ - فَقَالَ إِنْ هَـذَآ إِلاَّ سِحْرٌ يُؤْثَرُ - إِنْ هَـذَآ إِلاَّ قَوْلُ الْبَشَرِ - سَأُصْلِيهِ سَقَرَ - وَمَآ أَدْرَاكَ مَا سَقَرُ - لاَ تُبْقِى وَلاَ تَذَرُ

Kashf Al-Asrar

O enwrapped in thy cloak, stand up and warn!

“O source of bounteousness, O rising place of beauty, O chosen by the Majestic! O you who have pulled the cloak of mortal nature over your head and covered yourself with the rug of human nature. If you want proximity to Me, stand up through Me and drop from yourself everything other than Me. Rise up from yourself and rise up from your own rising up! Flee to the sanctuary of My exaltedness! Lift off the cloak of mortal nature from yourself, remove the rug of human nature from the road of the heart so that the heart may be a vast plain! Let it fly like a bird in the world of desire on the air of seeking until it arrives at the nest of proximity.”

A great man was asked, “What is the meaning of proximity?”

“If you mean the servant's proximity to the Real, expressing that is easy and alluding to it simple: It is service in seclusion, hidden from the people; the unveiling of the Haqiqah, hidden from the angels; immersion in companionship, hidden from oneself.

“If you are talking about the Real's proximity to the servant, that cannot be put into words, nor do expression and allusion have any access to it. It is nothing but what He Himself says: 'Surely I am near [2:186]: Unsought, uncalled, unperceived, I am near. Compared to My closeness, the eye's blackness is distant from the eye's whiteness, for I am nearer than that, and the breath is far from the lips, for I am nearer than that. I am not near to your intellect's preserve, for I am near to My own attributes in the description of My own firstness.'”

The Pir of the Tariqah said, “If people were to see the light of proximity in the recognizer, they would all be burned away, and if the recognizer were to see the light of proximity in himself, he would burn away. The knowledge of proximity does not fit into tongue and ear. It is a narrow road, and proximity disdains companionship with the tongue's water and clay. Whenever proximity shows its face, how can the universe and man wait around?”

As long as you are with you, what good is this talk to you? For this is the Fountain of Life, the world disowned.

O enwrapped in thy cloak, stand up and warn! “O trustworthy Gabriel, O cherubim of the heavens, O proximate of the threshold! Give good news to creation that MuḤammad MuṣṬafā has been clothed in the garment of prophethood and mounted on the steed of messengerhood. O heaven, you burn candles! O Inhabited House, you become the prayer-niche of the folk of faith! O revered and honored Kaabah, you be the kiblah of the army of the folk of the submission! O dust of the earth, you be the mosque of the folk of No god but God, for that paragon of the world and master of the children of Adam has been singled out for this eminence-bestowing address: “O enwrapped in thy cloak, stand up and warn!”

Take care not to have the opinion that before he was addressed like this, he was not a prophet. He said, “I was a prophet when Adam was between water and clay, spirit and body.” There was still no water and no dust when the throne of the covenant of prophethood's good fortune was set up and that paragon sat on that throne. The spirits of the 124,000 prophets were standing in service, and the four captains, who were the elect of prophethood's threshold-Abū Bakr, ʿUmar, ʿUthmān, and ʿAlī-were lined up to serve him.

MuṣṬafā said, “O pure faith! Come down into the chamber of Abū Bakr's heart and stay concealed until he enters into the loins. When I stick up my head from the midst of the earth of Hijaz, you come from the chamber of Abū Bakr's breast to the tip of his tongue and set up the covenant with me before the world's folk know. Then I will place this crown of honor on his head: 'Abū Bakr and I were created from one clay, but I preceded him to prophethood, without harming him. Had he preceded me, that would not have harmed me.'

“O exaltedness of the submission! Tighten the belt of courage and come down into the breast of ʿUmar, and reconcile him with me. Then I will draw this sigil on his days: 'Had I not been sent as prophet, you would have been sent, O ʿUmar!'

“O self-purification! You place the crown of shame on your head and tighten the belt of contentment and come down into the breast of ʿUthmān so that in the house of the world I may keep his allegiance and write out this inscription: “It is they who are the faithful in truth” [8:4].

“O knowledge! You put on the garment of intellect and go into the monastery of ʿAlī's heart. Stand in wait until tomorrow when the intellect of the prophets enters by the door of my chamber. I will gaze upon him, and he will make knowledge a mirror and intellect an eye. He will look into the mirror and recognize me, and I will proclaim this for him: 'You are to me as Aaron was to Moses.'”

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

A study of the background of the revelation of these verses given in the introduction above can help one understand why the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) on this occasion has been addressed with Ya ayyuhal-Muddaththiru instead of Ya ayyuhar-Rasulu (O Messenger), or Ya ayyuhan-Nabiyyu (O Prophet). As the Holy Prophet had been terrified when he had suddenly seen the Angel Gabriel (on whom be peace), sitting on a throne between heaven and earth, and had returned hastily home and asked the people of the house to cover him up, so Allah addressed him with Ya ayyuhal-Muddaththiru. From this fine way of address the meaning which automatically follows is: "O My dear Servant, why have you lain down thus enwrapped? You have been put under the. burden of a great mission: you must now arise from your solitude to perform this mission with resolution and courage."

A command of this very nature had been given to the prophet Noah (peace be on him) while appointing him to the office of Prophet hood; "Warn the people of your nation before they are overtaken by a painful torment." (Nuh: 1) The verse means: "O you who lies enwrapped, stand up and arouse the people who live in heedlessness around you: warn them of the fate which would certainly overtake them if they remained involved in the same heedlessness, Warn them that they are not living in a lawless kingdom where they are free to conduct themselves as they like and where they can do wherever they please without any fear or being called to account for it. "

This is the primary duty of a Prophet, which he has to perform in this world. His foremost duty is to refute the greatness of all those whom the ignorant people might be holding as great, and publicly proclaim that we greatness in this universe belongs to none but Allah alone. For this very reason the phrase Allahu Akbar has been Geld as of supreme importance in Islam. The adhan (call to prayer) begins with the proclamation of Allahu Akbar. The Muslim enters the Prayer itself with Allahu Akbar and repeats Allahu Akbar every time he sits or stands, He pronounces Bismillahi Allahu Akbar also when slaughtering an animal. The slogan of Allahu Akbar has become a most distinctive and prominent emblem of Muslims throughout the world today, for the Prophet of this Ummah himself had embarked on his mission with the magnification and glorification of Almighty Allah.

Here, there is another fine point, which must be understood well. As we have learned from the background of the revelation of these verses, this was the first occasion when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had been commanded to arise for performing the duties of the great mission of Prophethood, and it was obvious that the city and society in which he was commanded to perform this mission, was the center of polytheism. Not only were the people around him polytheistic like the common Arabs but, more than that, the city of Makkah had become the most sacred place of pilgrimage for the polytheistic Arabs, and the Quraish were its attendants. Arising of a person in such a place all by himself and proclaiming the Oneness of God in the face of polytheism was full of risks. That is why the exhortation to "proclaim the greatness of your Lord" just after "arise and warn" contains this meaning also: "Do not at all mind the terrifying and dreadful forces that seem to be obstructing and impeding your work and proclaim publicly that your Lord is the greatest of all those who can hinder and resist you from giving your message. This is indeed the greatest encouragement for a person who embarks on a Divine mission. The one who has Allah's greatness and majesty deeply embedded in his heart will feel no hesitation at all in facing and fighting the entire world by himself for the sake of Allah.

These are very comprehensive words, which are full of meaning.

They mean this: "Keep your garments free from every filth and impurity, for the purity of the body and garments and the purity of the spirit are inter-linked and inter-dependent. " A pure spirit and an impure body with impure garments cannot live together. The society in which the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had arisen with the invitation to Islam, was not only steeped in the evils of unbelief and immorality, but was also devoid of even the most elementary concepts of purity and cleanliness, and the Holy Prophet's task was to teach its members cleanliness in every way of life. Therefore he was instructed to establish and present a high standard of purity in his external life as well. Thus, it is the result of the same instruction that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) gave mankind such detailed teaching about the cleanliness of the body and garments as is not possessed even by the most civilized nations of today, not to speak of the Arabs of the pre-Islamic days of ignorance. So much so that in most of the languages of the world there is no word synonymous with "taharat" ". On the contrary, in Islam every book of the Hadith and Fiqh begins with injunctions and instructions on taharat (purity), which distinguishes between purity and impurity and gives minute details about the methods and means of obtaining purity.

The second meaning of these words is: "Keep your garments neat and clean." The criterion of religiosity given to the world by the monastic concepts was that a man was holy to the extent he was unclean. If a person happened to put on neat clothes, he was looked upon as a worldly man, whereas the fact is that human nature abhors filth and uncleanness and even a person of ordinary fine taste loves to be associated only with a neat and clean person. On this very basis, for the one calling the people to Allah it was made imperative that externally also he should look so neat and clean that the people should regard him with esteem and his personality should not be stained in any way so as to repel others.

The third meaning of this Divine Command is: "Keep your garments free from moral evils: your dress should be neat and clean but it should bear no tinge of vanity and pride, display and exhibition, pomp and show. " The dress is the first thing that introduces the personality of a person to others. The kind of dress a person wears makes the people judge at first sight what kind of a man he is. The dresses of the rulers and princes, the dresses of the religious functionaries, the dresses of the vain and conceited people, the dresses of the mean and shallow people, the dresses of the evil-natured and characterless people, all represent the tastes and tempers of those who wear them. The temper of the one calling to Allah is naturally different from all such people. Therefore, his dress also should necessarily be different from all of them. He should wear such a dress as.should make everyone else feel that he is a noble and refined person, who is not involved in any evil of the self.

Its fourth meaning is: Keep away from moral evils. Ibn `Abbas, Ibrahim Nakha`i, Sha`bi, `Ata', Mujahid. Qatadah, Sa`id bin Jubair, Hasan Basri and other major commentators have given this very meaning to this verse: keep yourself morally pure and avoid all that is blameworthy. In Arabic usage also when it is said: "So and so is clean in his garments", it implies that he is morally good and pure; on the contrary, when it is said: "He is filthy in his garments", it means that he is dishonest and fraudulent in his dealings: he is unreliable.

"Filth" implies every kind of filth, whether of belief and thought, of morals and deeds, of the body, dress or mode of life. The verse means: "Keep yourself free from the filth of evils which are prevalent in society around you: no one should ever impute to you the blame that your own life itself is stained in some degree with the evils that you tell others to avoid."

The words wa la tamnun tastakthir in the original are so vast in meaning that no one sentence can convey their full sense in translation.

Their one meaning is: "Whomever you favor, you should favor him without any selfish motive. Your bestowal of an endowment and donation, your generosity and good treatment should be only for the sake of Allah: there should be no trace in it of the desire that you should receive any worldly gains in return for the favor done. In other words, do good to others for the sake of Allah, not for seeking any benefits."

The second meaning is: "Although the mission of Prophethood that you are performing is a great favor in itself, for the people are obtaining true guidance because of it, do not remind the people of this favor, nor try to obtain any personal benefits from it."

The third meaning is: "Although you are performing a great service, you should never gloat over it, nor should ever have the idea that by performing your prophetic duties, at the risk of life, you are doing any favor to your Lord."

That is, "The task that is being entrusted to you is full of hazards: you will meet with great hardships and difficulties and troubles on this way: even your own people will turn hostile to you and the whole of Arabia will become your enemy. Yet you should endure with patience, for the sake of your Lord, whatever you may have to face in this way, and carry out all your duties firmly and resolutely. Fear, greed, friendship, enmity, love, all these will hinder your way, but you should stand your ground firmly and steadfastly."

These were the very preliminary instructions which Allah gave His Messenger (upon whom be peace) at the time when He commanded him to arise and start the work of Prophethood. If a person ponders over these brief sentences and their meaning his heart will testify that no better instructions could be given to a Prophet at the commencement of his prophetic mission. In these he was told what he was required to do, what kind of life, morals and dealings he should adopt, and taught with what intention, mentality and mode of thought he should go about his mission and also forewarned what kind of conditions he would meet with in the performance of his mission and how he would have to face and overcome them Today the people who, blinded by their prejudices, say that these words were. God forbid, uttered by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) during epileptic fits, should study these sentences carefully and judge for themselves whether these are the product of any epileptic fits, or the instructions of a God, which He gave to His Servant while appointing him to the mission of Apostleship.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (O thou enveloped in your cloak): '(O thou enveloped in your cloak) addressing the Prophet (pbuh) who had enveloped himself in his cloak to sleep